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Tips and Guides

7 Design Lessons We Can Learn From Zambawood

Achieve that posh look for less inspired by this calming beach resort

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Photography: Mari-An Santos

“Decorating is simply putting the pieces that you love together, there's no rule. Your eyes are your guide. As long as the colors match, the pieces are streamlined, mixed with interesting pieces, a personalized look is achieved. As long as the walls and the floors are neutral, it becomes your canvas. Moving the pieces around could be seamless and quite fun,” says architect Rachel Harrison, the creative mind behind Zambawood in San Narciso, Zambales.

The nature-inspired 500sqm house is built on a one-hectare fenced property in their family’s ancestral land. The surrounding area is 26 hectares of open spaces, surrounded by pine trees and just a stroll away, you can jump into the West Philippine Sea. Julyan’s Pine Beach Farm, an organic farm supervised by Rachel’s son, borders it, too.

“As you enter Zambawood, the gate that receives you exudes an aura of peace and tranquility. It's made of bamboo for flexibility and the red circle is for good fortune. The walkway is Yin-Yang to show balance, and as you reach the main door and you peep into the view from the house, you see the forest and the sea beyond.

Before you reach the main door, you step across a short bridge with pond, fishes, water lilies, and the sound of the trickling water from the fountain. All these experiences set the guests into relaxation mood that awaits them inside.”

If you've always loved the vibe of nature and the outdoors, here are seven design and decorating ideas from Rachel that you can consider for your home:

1. Design according to the surrounding natural environment.

“The idea is to live indoors yet you feel like you live outdoors. From all angles inside the house, when you look out, you see a view of either the sea, the forest or the mountain.  The doors and windows are huge to let the natural light come in and there's cross ventilation that lets you feel the sea breeze.”

2. Not everything needs to be perfect.

“We used chalk paint for the distressed look in the kitchen and doors.”

3. Look out for opportunities to upcycle.

“The sink counters, the floors are made of wood salvaged from old houses. The kitchen counter and the coffee table come from the same Acacia tree. One typhoon, the tree fell from my mother's farm. I got a skilled carpenter to polish the pieces and used them as they are, as natural and raw as possible.”

4. Take inspiration from elements in nature.

“To achieve the natural look in the bathrooms, we used natural stones from India cut into mosaic for the walls. Our shower rooms are spacious and the stones on the ground exude the feeling of taking a shower in the river.”

5. Find a way to harmonize your memorabilia.

“The unifying look are the old wood furniture pieces from our Asian postings. The accessories we've collected from our travels are eclectic, the cushions are brightly colored to give life and we use a lot of indigenous plants found around the vegetation to decorate.”

6. Mix-and-match.

“Uncluttered spaces definitely look more chic. Too many pieces overstimulate the senses.  Arrange into groupings, streamline and curate pieces that match and look good together.”

7. Look out for interesting, not expensive, furniture or accessories.

“Ask yourself what it is about the object that you like. Is it the shape, color, design, story, meaning?  If it does not give you pleasure, maybe it does not belong to your space.”

“The open plan living spaces opens out to the outdoors, the recycled and upcycled wood are finished naturally, the white distressed paint in the kitchen cabinets and doors give that rustic feel, and natural cement gives that modern industrial look.”

Zambawood Beach House is located at Fernandez Compound, Purok 1B, Bario La Paz, San Narciso, Zambales.

If you're looking for a relaxing home away from home for your family or group of friends, you may want to check out Zambawood! To learn more about the space, visit their website. You can also follow their Facebook page for updates.

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